Nonprofits and givers are in the change business, and the business of change continually requires changing the way we do business.
Too often consumed with the day-to-day grind of delivering services, meeting the payroll and raising money, nonprofit managers and leaders rarely take the time to think about changing the way they work so their organizations can operate better and smarter.
Yet the demands of a global marketplace transformed by technology and the seamless flow of people, jobs, capital and information has made it more urgent than ever that nonprofits adapt to the new economy and way of doing business.
Nonprofits and their leaders must learn to be social entrepreneurs, gearing their organizations not only to deliver services more effectively and efficiently but also to make change happen.
That means adapting to their organizations the enterprising, networked, collaborative and outsourced culture of the global economy.
Change as a vision must become part of the way nonprofits think and work, and the leaders of nonprofits must make entrepreneurial leadership a value and a lesson they look for and cultivate in their boards and staffs.
“Everyone a changemaker” is the mission of Ashoka, the international social-change organization that supports the development of social entrepreneurs.
And making everyone a changemaker requires inspiration and giving every problem “as much innovation as it can humanly get,” says Sushmita Goosh, Ashoka’s president emeritus.
Nonprofits are indeed in the change business, and making change happen requires that nonprofits and their supporters invest in finding and developing individuals dedicated to changing their organizations so they can work on making our communities better places to live and work.
Todd Cohen, a veteran news reporter and editor, is editor and publisher of Philanthropy Journal, an online newspaper published by the A.J. Fletcher Foundation in Raleigh, N.C. Cohen has taught nonprofit reporting and media relations at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at Duke University, and regularly speaks on the topics of nonprofit media relations and trends in the charitable world.